Brand Stories

Brand Story: Sailing through Time - The Enduring Legacy of Helly Hansen

February 1, 2024

In the world of outdoor and maritime gear, few brands command the same level of respect and admiration as Helly Hansen. Established in 1877 in Moss, Norway, Helly Hansen has seamlessly blended traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology to create a brand synonymous with quality, durability, and innovation. Over its long and storied history, Helly Hansen has evolved from a small, local business to a global leader in performance apparel for outdoor enthusiasts, professionals, and athletes.

Roots in Seafaring Tradition

Helly Hansen's journey began in the late 19th century when founder Helly Juell Hansen and his wife, Maren Margarethe, set out to create durable, waterproof clothing for sailors braving the unforgiving Norwegian seas. Recognizing the need for protection against the harsh elements, the couple started crafting waterproof garments made from oiled canvas. This marked the birth of the brand's commitment to creating gear that could withstand the most challenging conditions.

Innovation and Technology

Over the years, Helly Hansen has remained at the forefront of technological advancements in outdoor apparel. One of the brand's breakthroughs was the creation of the first supple waterproof fabric in 1949, known as Helox. This innovation revolutionized rainwear, making it more comfortable and effective for outdoor enthusiasts. Later, in 1970, the introduction of the first fleece-lined, breathable, and waterproof jacket, the Helly Tech, further solidified the brand's reputation for innovation.

The Three-Layer System

One of Helly Hansen's most significant contributions to the outdoor industry is the development of the Three-Layer System. Introduced in the 1970s, this system involves combining a base layer, an insulating layer, and a protective outer layer to create a comprehensive solution for various weather conditions. This system has become a standard in the industry, influencing the design of outdoor clothing for maximum comfort and functionality.

Professional Endorsements

Helly Hansen's commitment to quality has earned the trust of professionals across various industries. The brand has become the gear of choice for sailors, skiers, mountaineers, and other outdoor professionals who rely on top-notch equipment to perform in extreme conditions. The iconic Helly Hansen logo is often seen at the forefront of competitive sailing events, winter sports competitions, and other challenging environments.

Fashion and Streetwear

Beyond its practical applications, Helly Hansen has also made a significant impact on the fashion and streetwear scenes. The brand's signature stripes and logo have become iconic symbols, making appearances on runways and in urban street style. Collaborations with fashion designers and influencers have further elevated Helly Hansen's status as a versatile and stylish brand for those who appreciate both form and function.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

In recent years, Helly Hansen has embraced a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. The brand recognizes the impact of its operations on the environment and has taken steps to minimize its ecological footprint. This includes initiatives to use more sustainable materials, reduce waste, and ensure ethical manufacturing processes.


Helly Hansen's rich history, commitment to innovation, and dedication to quality have made it a household name in the outdoor and maritime apparel industry. From the treacherous waters of the Norwegian seas to the highest peaks and urban streets, Helly Hansen has evolved and adapted while remaining true to its core values. As outdoor enthusiasts, professionals, and fashionistas continue to seek reliable and stylish gear, Helly Hansen's legacy as a pioneer in performance apparel looks set to endure for generations to come.

Photo by Helly Hansen.


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